Apollo Bay's Tactile Pleasure Group Exhibition is on again!

Where: Anglican Church Hall, Apollo Bay
When: Wednesday, 7th January to Saturday, 31st January 2015

A fantastic group of Artists, working in mediums like photography, sculpture, textiles, painting, woodwork and more, invite you to experience the Tactile Pleasure of their exhibition. 

Below is a taster of the January exhibition. Detailed information about all the participating artist can be found at the Tactile Pleasure Facebook page.

The Music Makers - Angie Smales

Whilst music played a big part in Angie's younger life, it wasn't until she was in her fifties, seizing the opportunity an empty nest provides, that she started her music studies with a renewed focus.

She calls it her 'Alzheimer prevention program'. Angie's studies follow the Music Theory and Music Craft syllabus of AMEB.

Originally she chose 'voice' as her instrument, but her Austrian heritage and life's circumstances brought the zither back into her life and she now works through her course using a 9 chord zither with 2 and a half octaves of melody strings.

This beautiful zither was made to her specific requirements by
  Zitherbau Marko
one of the few German zither builders still in operation today.

It's almost impossible to learn to play an instrument without learning about it's history and it is the history of the chord zither that provided the spark for Angie to seek out and restore, with the help of her husband, antique chord zithers.

Angie believes that these instruments, very popular around 100 years ago, might be just the thing for dealing with the stresses of the 21st century.

Apart from their stunning looks, once restored to their former glory, what makes these instruments so right for our time are the unique tune-sheets that were designed and written specifically for the chord zither.
With the tune-sheets slipped under the melody strings, anyone can play a tune without the ability to read music.
Add to this their ethereal, harp-like sound, chord zithers provide instant fun and allow budding musicians to just play.

Whilst continuing her own music studies, she now offers a selection of her restored zithers for sale

Angie also holds zithering workshops, giving participants the opportunity to play her zithers using the unique tune-sheet system and the option to rent/buy any of these unique instruments.

It gives her great satisfaction and joy to see workshop participants play recognisable melodies the very first time they touch the instrument.
The tune-sheet system, whilst simple, is almost magical.

Any information about these unique instruments and their notation system can be found on Angie's website www.runningwithzithers.com 
This also the place to keep informed about any up-coming 2015 workshops.

Birregurra Festival 2014 revisited!

If you happen to be one of the few who missed this years festival, you are probably tired of hearing that you have missed the BEST ever festival by now.
Well, thanks to Debra Chant, here is your chance to see what all the fuss is about and for all of us who were there, this is a lovely re-visit.
See how many faces you recognise!
Birregurra Arts Group members featured are:

Monica Provan, Robert Mills, Pam Fyfe, The Ukulele Kollective and the Gospel Singing Group.

The art of communication and the communication of art....

Linnet's website
...is the circular concept that feeds and drives the work of Linnet Hunter, poet, coach and small business mentor.

Linnet is one of those rare individuals who is gifted on both sides of this communication coin.
On the 'art of communication' side, this word-smith is acutely aware that a very large part to genuine communication is to truly listen.
Whether that be listening to those around you or to your intrinsic self.
Through WILD SKY, she offers artists an opportunity to learn the skills of communication and listening, thereby liberating them to express themselves through their art.
Linnet offers workshops, seminars and on-on-one consultations to help artists to find their wings by creating support structures for their work and strengthening their creativity through the power of words.

On the 'communication of art' part of the coin, Linnet's poems talk straight to the heart, they are deeply felt.
She says her poems are a gift, that they arrive from somewhere and it is up to her to capture and share them.
I suspect this gift is the manifestation of listening to her innermost self.
She has been 'capturing' 3 series of poems in her life so far.
Word & Flesh, released in 2014, Capture & Flight and Spirit & Heart, both due for release in 2015.
Word & Flesh with it's beautiful cover by Rebecca Readhead, another local artist. 

The quality of a work of art is surely related to how it touches the listener, viewer or reader and Linnet's poems are heard by the heart.
Her poem - I Looked In The Mirror, inspired artist Helen Davey to create a soundscape.

I recently sent the above link to a friend as a form of thank you for her thoughtfulness and this was her response:
         'Tears came to my eyes when I read that poem. Tears for me (boy, could I relate!) and also tears for you. Its interesting how what we see on the outside sometimes doesn't give us any inkling of what can be happening on the inside. Linnet is an amazing poet. We bought her book and its beautiful. Beautiful music too. Its all very thought provoking stuff'

I can't think of better words to demonstrate the Art of Communication and the Communication of Art.

...tis the season...

...for carols by Chord Zithers!

Ever wished you could play an instrument?

Find out how easy it is with a chord zither by joining our carols zither workshop.

If you own your own instrument, bring it along or use one of our restored zithers to spread a little joy this season.

3 December, 1-3pm or 7-9pm
6 Jenner Street, Birregurra
To book:
Phone 5236 2644
Cost: Free workshop, zithers, notes & tune sheets will be available on the day.

Do Art & Business mix? Yes they do!

 Here is a last minute opportunity for artist still wondering if they can!

    For bookings email Linnet or contact her on 0414629539 or go to her website


The Music Makers - Nathaniel Taylor

The reluctant music maker

Nathaniel Taylor moved to Birregurra, with his new bride Elizabeth Braid, at the beginning of 2014, after securing his first teaching position as Teacher of Music at Trinity College, Colac.

His music making had an early start with piano lessons, aged 5. Like so many music students, he loved playing but not so much practicing. A change of teacher, to one who recognised, stretched and extended his talent, enabled the young Nathaniel to work through the AMEB stream. He went to Ballarat's Clarendon College, a secondary school renowned for it's strong music program, where he added the violin to his repertoire and played it in the school orchestra. His VCE subjects included Music Styles, Solo Performance/Classical Piano.

Even though he enjoyed music, he did not plan a career in music and definitely did not want to be a teacher. After a gap year and some travel he enrolled in an Arts/Marketing degree at Monash University.

Whilst a career in music was not on the agenda, his love for music took on a life of it's own and he involved himself in local theatre productions and even acted as Musical Director for some.

The success and confidence gained through this made him re-evaluate his career path and his desire to become involved in Music Education grew. 

Nathaniel's passion for music is drawn from the power it has to communicate and express feelings and has found that he is able to explore this through teaching secondary school aged students.
He finds the measure of talent among his students exciting and fostering a love for music in them extremely rewarding - not bad for someone who was definitely not going to be a teacher of Music.
Nathaniel values the role the encouragement of family and friends played on his path to finding his professional niche.
Personally, he is a member of a Jazz Fusion Improvisation Quartet called HAIKU.
To listen to their fabulous groove click HERE 
This Music Maker also finds time to expertly lead the Birregurra Singing Group that meets regularly at the Anglican Church Hall. 

I love it when a plan comes together!!!

If you haven't heard already, Birre is coming alive with the sounds of music. 

It's been a few months now since we started our little singing group in the Anglican Church hall every 2nd and 4th Tuesday. And it's growing! Not just in singers but in enthusiasm.

Each session just seems to be getting better and better. More confident! More relaxed! More fun!

The group was spawned from the idea of bringing together Birre's community members from all walks of life to sing - with no particular aim in mind - just to enjoy the joy and have some fun. And last night was exactly that - a Super Fun night!

After practicing a tune that we'll join OMM with during the festival weekend, Nathaniel Taylor had us sounding fantastic with our brand new favourite song - Curtis Mayfield's People Get Ready (beautifully sung by the Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir - Hi Roz!). Now, while religion does tend to feature from time to time in some of the gospel songs we sing - I suppose that is the nature of Gospel - we haven't tied ourselves to the Holy Ghost. After listening and trying to sing along to some mind boggling tunes from US gospel heavy weight Kirk Franklin we kicked back with a few more familiar tunes Under the Boardwalk and Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher.

You'd think after all that singing we'd be done - but you'd be wrong. After a quick supper and wine break (many thanks to Gwen Koop!), we got straight back into some more sing-a-long fun, this time accompanied by Birre's new ukulele group and the lovely Denis on his clarinet. 

We sung Paul Kelly's To Her Door, the good old Denver fave Take Me Home Country Roads, George Ezra's beautiful Budapest, and rounded it all off with a little love from Ben E King with Stand by Me.

With our adrenalin fully pumped and our feel good endorphins flowing freely into the night, every one of us left humming our favourite tune ready to count down the days to our next sing-a-long.

If you're keen to join in the fun - just come along and see what you think. First session is free and then $10. Kids 13 and under are free.

Honky Tonk Heaven at Barwon Downs

Just 9 days to buy you ticket to the Barwon Downs country dance from Birre General Store or Dymond & Dymond - great music from Rusty Berther's friends and just $20 a ticket. 

Round up a carload, chuck on your dancing shoes and head to the Downs for a hoedown! The more we support these events, the more we will be able to bring to the area!

First Solo Show of Birregurra Artist - Liz Braid

Liz invites you to join her at her first solo show

'Where are we going? Always Home.' - Novalis

In her first solo exhibition, 'In Search of Home', Elizabeth Braid investigates the philosophical search to understand and know home through a series of delicate watercolour, ink and embroidery pieces. Elizabeth explores the role of place and belonging in our globalised world as well as her own experience of seeking out the ever-elusive promise of a place called home.

Displaced 2014 Watercolour and Embroidery
That Freedom Feeling 2014 Ink
No Longer I, 2014 Watercolour and Ink
This portrait has been selected for the Tasmanian Portrait Prize 2014

An Italian day of culture

Round up of our NGV Winter Masterpieces Daytrip - Wed 30th July

Some think we're a little nuts to head out at the crack of dawn into the freezing cold to go and see some foreign paintings - but it's now our 2nd Winter Masterpieces daytrip and we're really getting to enjoy the frosty start.

It was a culture packed day which kicked off with some French pastries and the obligatory coffee followed by a casual stroll to our first stop, The Melbourne Arts Centre, where we spent some time ogling their fantastic in-house art collection including works by Charles Blackman, Inge King, Colin Lanceley, John Olsen (right) and Fred Williams.

Next was a guided tour through the extraordinary collection of Italian Masterpieces from Spain's Royal Court, Museo Del Prado. My personal favourite was a divine and captivating work by Caravaggio which superbly illustrated his unique and ground breaking light and shade technique called Caravaggism.

After enjoying a superb Italian lunch at La Camera, we wandered over to Ian Potter Gallery to admire Inge King's collection of post modern sculptures - a beautifully curated exhibition of her works since she arrived in Australia featuring the progression of scaled models that are a precursor to her enormous public pieces (see left) - not bad for a 98 year old women who is still hard at it.

A final stop at The Westin Hotel to check out some of Bill Henson's photograph was the perfect precursor to our wind down at Hardware Lane, and in keeping with the Italian theme of the day, a few glasses of red and aperativo. Phew! We were truly exhausted and cultured out, but no too tired to plot out our next day trip! Stay tuned!

Entries now open for Snapshots of Birregurra

Birregurra Arts Group invites you to take part in the inaugural “Snapshots of Birregurra” Amateur Photography Competition – an annual event coinciding with the Birregurra Weekend Festival.

Our tagline this year is “We know a picture tells a thousand words! What does your story of Birregurra look like?” Entry is free and all photos will be proudly displayed over the Birregurra Festival weekend. Awards will be based on creativity and uniqueness more so than technical ability. Entrants certainly don't have to live in Birregurra; photos just need to be a narrative of the area. Portraits or candid scenes are welcome, as are entertaining “set up” scenes – think The Beatles iconic cover art for Abbey Road.

Photo submissions should be mounted on A4 entry forms which will be exhibited during the weekend festival. There are two categories – Under 13s and Open. Each category has a first place prize of $100 and a runner up of $50. All entries also go into the running for the Len Robb People’s Choice Award ($100).

Click here to download your entry form.

The Details:

Entries close on 26 September 2014 and can be submitted at Birregurra General Store, Colac Library or Forrest Brewery.

Awards will judged by photographer Tim Lucas as well as three Birregurra community members. Awards for Under 13s and Open categories will be announced at the Birregurra Arts Show on Friday 10th October. Winners will also be contacted by phone or email. The Len Robb People’s Choice Award will be judged by the public on Saturday 11th October during Birregurra Festival and announced on the main stage on Sunday 12th October.

This fantastic new community arts initiative is bought to us by Birregurra Arts Group and supported by Birregurra Mail, Birregurra Festival and Birregurra Art Show. If you’d like any further information, email birreartsgroup@gmail.com.

Arts Atlas launches in South West Victoria

http://artsatlassw.com.au/ArtsAtlas is a new arts communications portal for the South West Victoria region and exists to build a community of people who like to share what they do with others and who also like to know what’s going on.  

Having been successfully rolled out in Ballarat and the Goldfields region, it has been developed with artists, organisations and cultural groups in mind, in response to the needs of this region. Its aim is to bring people together, to share what’s going on and to profile our region.  

It is not only a tool of sharing for artists and cultural services but also a useful resource for the whole community, businesses and organisations wishing to work with artists and events.  

Arts Atlas South West invites artists and art lovers to be part of this community, to share your events, and show what you do. You can subscribe to the monthly e-news or check in to see what’s happening on the calendar.

ArtsAtlas is supported by the Regional Arts Victoria Great South Coast partnership.

The Music Makers - Birregurra's Gospel Singing Group

Singing is good for you!

Be it men or women,

Young or not so young.

According to Colin Slater, founder of Sing Australia, singing for fun can provide a counter force to the many pressures our modern life brings. 
'Every day there is something new, pressuring us to achieve or fall behind. ..Although computers have made some tasks quicker, they have also increased the pressure to produce results faster, worse still, time for each other has decreased too, as the internet and email take over our social contact.
Getting together to sing will enable us to enjoy each other's company and it will provide pleasure and relaxation. ..It will provide a sanctuary from the pressures of the world and provide a place where singers may enjoy the release and pleasure of singing.'

It is no wonder that Music Therapy is one of the fastest growing therapies, increasing the wellbeing of it's participants.
Joining Birregurra Gospel Singing Group will increase your wellbeing and, as experienced by me, will send your happiness barometer north.

It is an informal group that meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at the Christ Church Hall at 7pm.
As you can see from the photos, all are welcome. If you compare the cost of other therapies, the cost of $10, which includes a scrumptious supper afterwards, is more than excellent value for money. Children sing for free.

The budding choir is expertly led by Nathaniel Taylor, Teacher of Music, Trinity Collage.
Joining the group was a whole lot of fun and we walked home singing with warm hearts on a cold night. The children felt very welcomed and the granddaughter is scheduling her next sleep-over on 'singing group' night.

If you want to stretch your vocal chords, just come along or email Fiona at birreartsgroup@gmail.com



Birregurra Arts Group are proud to announce the launch of the inaugural Snapshots of Birregurra Amateur Photography Competition featuring the Len Robb People’s Choice Award.

Working closely in partnership with Birregura Arts Group—the Birregurra Mail, the Birregurra Weekend Festival Committee and the Birregurra Art Show are sponsoring the event and hope to make it an annual events which give our community an ever growing collection of artwork and archival images. Winners will be announced during the Birregurra Weekend Festival and an exhibition of all entries will run across the weekend.

Application forms will be available to pick up in a few weeks from a number of shops and outlets in Birre, Colac, Lorne, Winchelsea and Forrest. More info provided in a week or so. For now, here are the general details so you can start planning your entry.

  • Entries will open early-August and will close 26th September
  • All photos should be maximum 6”x8” and will exhibited at Birregurra Weekend Festival
  • Two categories: Under 13s and Open
  • Theme: My Birregurra
  • Open to: Anyone. Entries from right around the district are welcome but must be of the theme
  • Prizes: $100 first place / $50 runner up / $100 Len Robb People’s Choice Award
  • Entry forms will be available from early August at multiple pick up points in Birregurra and the district. More information provided here soon and in the next issue of Birre Mail
  • Get creative and think outside the box – Judging based on the most creative as well as for technique